The second largest of the Orkney Islands, Hoy is still not very big, being only about 10 miles by 5 miles. The island has more hills than the surrounding islands, with Ward Hill at 1577 feet being the highest hill of the Orkneys. In order to reach Hoy, visitors have to take the ferry from Stromness or Graemsay. This ferry ride takes about 30 minutes and is a passenger only ferry. If you want to take your vehicle with you, you will have to take the larger ferry from Houton to Lyness.
Lyness is the largest town on the island and during the Second World War, many sailors called this port home due to the naval base at Scapa Flow. On the island of Hoy, there are several small villages. Moness is the site of ferry terminal for passengers and Rackwick is a small crafting village.
Visitors to Hoy like to visit the The Scapa Flow Visitor Centre & Naval Museum to discover the many relics of both World Wars. This area is also the location of the sinking of the HMS Royal Oak during World War 11.
Hoy provides a wonderful opportunity for walking along the blooming heather. A path leading from Rackwick will take you to the cliffs where you can see Old Man Hoy, a 450foot sea stack. The hike takes about four or five hours, but on the way you can make a stop at the Dwarfie Stone, a large hollowed out stone that remains from an earlier time. No one has yet figured out the purpose of the stone.
The scenery wherever you go on Hoy is breathtaking and some of the tourist attractions are very unique. This is the case with the grave of Betty Corrigall, whose suicide prevented her from being buried in the graveyard. Visit St. John's Church that is still lit by oil lamps and the mansion of Hoy at the Melsetter House. Although this is a private home it is open to tours by appointment only. This home was built in 1783 and the estate consists of a chapel and cottages.
The village of Longhope was once separated from Hoy, but now a short causeway makes it possible to visit this area as well. Longhope is the site of a museum at the Old Longhope Lifeboat Station. Here you will also see St. Columba's Church, the bronze statue dedicated to the crew of the Longhope Lifeboat and the Martello Tower, once used for defending the island.
If you want to spend some time on Hoy, the Cantick Head Lighthouse Cottages are located within walled gardens and will provide you with the peace and tranquility you are looking for.